My sister, I believe, came out of the womb in a wedding dress. She planned her wedding like it was the end of the world. I’m not using hyperbole here either. And her wedding was still–to this day–the best wedding I’ve ever been to. But the planning was amazing. She knew, seriously from birth, what her wedding would be like. And she implemented it. It was beautiful.
I, on the other hand, have not spent days planning my future wedding. I, in fact, never felt really comfortable with the idea of marriage. I think I would be fine without having a “marriage.” This does not mean that I don’t want a life partner, it just means that I don’t think a piece of paper issued from the state is what it takes to make a relationship work. At least for me.
But then, in September of 2007, I found myself walking down an isle, in a wedding dress, surrounded by friends and family, getting married.
How did this happen?
It’s a difficult story to tell. This is because there are two sides to the story and all are from my perspective. There’s the side of me being in the moment and my reflection of what happened.Let’s start at the beginning. No. Let’s start before the beginning.
In January 2007 I had just ended a passionate, tumultuous 4 year relationship. I loved this person incredibly, but I hated our relationship. We broke up and made up numerous times. We confused our families. We were not stable. But we were in love, we were incredibly passionate, and we had a lot of fun. We made the wise decision to split up for good, and it took time to get over.
For the next 6 months, I dated no one. And I slowly began to feel lonely. I was 30, alone, and had a daughter. I felt that although I had a good career, a career that I loved, I didn’t really have a real family. I felt like a had a huge hole in my life. All my friends were married and starting families. I would visit them and they seemed so happy and ideal. I began to covet what my friends had–stability, happiness, and a husband.
So that’s why, one day, when I walked into the local coffee shop I used to go to every day, I noticed and began talking to a man who worked there. I soon found out that he was a year older than me, was only working at the coffee shop so he could study for the mcats, and that he had a degree and an actual profession.
He seemed stable and nice. When we went out for the first time, he was the perfect gentleman. He even stood on the correct side of the street as he walked me home. He had a genuine interest in who I was, my daughter, my life.
He was prince charming. Or so I made him out to be.
We started spending almost everyday together and got to know each other more. Only 5 weeks into dating each other, however, I found out I was pregnant. This was a total and complete shock to me, and something I was not too excited about.
You see, I had done the single mom thing for 8 years by that time. It’s not glamorous. I didn’t want to do it again. I was, to be honest, pretty devastated. He, on the other hand, was ecstatic.
He thought we should marry. I disagreed. He made the point that it would be bad for Maddie to think that it was alright for her mom to get pregnant and not marry–AGAIN. That we could marry quickly and she wouldn’t figure out the math.
GUILT….that’s what I felt. I didn’t want to be a bad influence on Maddie. I wanted her to know that a good woman falls in love, gets married, and then has a baby.
I agreed. A wedding day was set. We would be married in 7 weeks.
From that moment on, I freaked out. I had a panic attack in the jewelry store when looking for a ring. I had a panic attack when discussing anything wedding related. I told him he could do it all. All I could offer was a friend who was a wedding planner.
Then, a week later, deep depression set in.
I could barely get out of bed. I could barely work. I could barely pull it together to take care of Maddie.
I ran–seriously ran–to a psychologist.
“It’s just hormones from your pregnancy” she said.
I went to another psychologist. Same thing.
I went to my obstetrician. Same thing.
I was put on an anti-depressant. The doctor said I would feel better in 6 weeks.
That’s when the wedding was planned. Perfect, I thought.
I took each pill with determination every morning, and every morning, I sunk more and more into my own space.
I refused to answer my phone, I refused to go out, and I refused to see my fiance.
Oh, I am serious. I saw him twice in 6 weeks before the wedding. I couldn’t do it. The thought of his actually repulsed me. And I told him this. I was honest. He still wanted to marry me.
Then the wedding approached and friends and family came into town. There were dinners and meetings and all of this I went through in a fog. I honestly could have cared less. My wedding dress? Bought because a friend said it looked good on me. Shoes? My mom bought them. Flowers? I didn’t even care.
The day of the wedding, I felt better. I was surrounded by my best friends. But as the time to walk down the isle got closer, I freaked out. I knew I didn’t want to do this, but it was too late, I thought. Everyone was here. Money was spent.
Right before I walked down the aisle, I looked at my dad and said, “I don’t want to do this.” Shocked, he ignored me and off we went.
30 minutes later and I was married.
1 day later I sat in my house with my husband and I was miserable.
I made a mistake. A big mistake.
I started seeing another psychologist. He said, “Get off the drugs.”
I did. Slowly, with his help, I realized that the depression I was suffering from had nothing to do with being pregnant. It had to do with me agreeing to marry someone whom I did not love or even really like. It was like my body was telling me, screaming at me really, “YOU’VE MADE A BIG ERROR. STOP! PAY ATTENTION. YOU’RE NOT HAPPY.”
You see, he was not prince charming, at least, not my prince charming.
And there is nothing wrong with him–he’s not mean or an abuser. He was just not right for me.
And the sad thing is, I knew this the whole time. During the first few conversations we had, he said certain things that rubbed me the wrong way–things that went so against my core beliefs (he cared about money and status, for instance), but I ignored these things because I wanted someone like him. I had been so torn up from my last relationship, so deflated, that I made excuses for him. I made him into what I wanted him to be….someone he was not at all.
Throughout our brief courtship, I knew–deep down–that he was almost the exact opposite of the type of man I wanted and needed.
I felt so stuck; Here I was married to someone i neither loved nor liked and I was pregnant.
SHIT, I thought.
So I decided to un-stick myself. It was a hard decision. I didn’t want to ruin our soon-to-be family. I didn’t want to be alone again. I didn’t want to be a single mother to two kids from two different fathers. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
But I did. Two months after our marriage, I asked him for a divorce. He knew it was coming. I had been open about my feelings. He had even come to therapy with me.
The day he moved out, I swear, my depression lifted. It felt like walking out of fog and into sun. I felt light and free. I felt happy again.
The divorce took awhile to finalize, but one year ago today, our paperwork was signed by a judge and we were officially divorced.
I am thankful for my divorce. I definitely made my life more complicated and difficult all around, but I am so thankful that I had the courage to make such a difficult decision. Life is much better because of it.